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Top 15 Bicycle Touring Mistakes to Avoid
Nobody is born knowing how to ride a bicycle unless you have a special gift. Therefore, as a beginner cyclist, you must learn how to ride by starting from baby steps.
As a learner, it is normal to make several bicycle touring mistakes before you finally learn and become a cycling pro.
Some of the basic things beginners pass through when learning how to cycle include propelling the bicycle.
They also learn how to balance the bicycle, apply brakes, carry loads and people, and move at high speed.
Eventually, they even maneuver risky and fearful moves that not many people can dare when they become pro cyclists.
By so doing, that is a sign of riding maturity that proves that they have ripened. As a beginner, you will be prone to making bicycle touring mistakes.
The following are the 15 bicycle touring mistakes to avoid on your first bicycle tour.
Wrong Saddle Height
As a beginner, you do not know many things about how to ride the bicycle efficiently without many inconveniences.
Therefore, you may set the saddle at the wrong height, and it will waste you to ride.
For instance, if you set the saddle height too low, your legs will be too tired because they will not stretch fully. Consequently, you cannot ride for long.
Furthermore, you could be short, and then you set the saddle height too high.
In that case, you will not cycle, and your groin will suffer from friction because you will have to move from side to side, trying to stretch your legs to reach the pedal.
Therefore before you set out for a cycling tour, you should countercheck the saddle height and ensure that it is correctly set so that you can ride comfortably.
With the right height, even your groin will not suffer, and you will ride for longer distances. Even your toes will not be pressured when you are cycling.
You Need The Best Gear
Newbies are extra careful, and they feel that they should be armed with the best gear whenever they are cycling.
Moreover, beginners have a perception that they should always be dressed in cycling attire when they are riding a bicycle.
This is not true. You do not need the professional riding gear all the time because that is not a rule.
If the gear is too expensive, you do not have to panic or take a loan to buy one so that you can ride the bicycle in gear.
Instead, you can ride in normal clothes as long as they will not negatively affect you.
The thought of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to buy cycling gear should not bother you.
However, if you can afford it, you can buy one, but if you can’t, just cycle in normal but suitable clothes.
There is no particular cycling rule that says you must ride in the exact cycling gear. It is also good to ride in clothes that are fit for the weather where you are cycling.
Wrong Bike Fit – Size
The size of the bicycle also matters. Bikes are designed to fit people with different heights. Some are made for children, while others are for adults.
However, all adults are not of the same height. Therefore, you must have a bicycle that is right for your size because it can be too stressful for a tall person to buy a small bike.
For instance, if you are 6 feet 5 inches tall and buy a bicycle designed for people who are 5′ 5″ tall, it will give you a very tough time.
Your knees may even touch the handlebars while the legs have to be folded to fit the height between the saddle and the pedal.
Precisely, your entire body has to be constricted to fit in the bicycle space, and it will be too tiring.
Similarly, if you buy a bigger bicycle than you, you will have to overstretch yourself when you are riding.
Therefore, you should check whether the bicycle that you want to buy is fit for your height.
Failing to Maintain The Bicycle
Before setting out for the first tour, you should check whether the bicycle functions well and whether it is alright.
If you make a mistake of riding an unmaintained bike, it will break down on the way, and you will have to push it.
Therefore, you will be out for a pushing tour but not a cycling tour.
Ensure that you will have your bicycle checked for any malfunctions and faults that it could have developed without you knowing whenever you come back from a cycling tour.
Servicing is key because there is no way that a bicycle can remain perfect. When it is moving, it is prone to developing faults and breaking down because of wear and tear.
That is why you should service it as a routine maintained practice.
Therefore, to retain your bicycle in the right way and to function properly, it should be serviced. This includes washing the bike after cycling touring and oiling the chain.
Without these two, the bicycle will look odd and piss you off.
Some people have some cycling greed, and it can hit hard on you. They want to cover a long distance on their first tour, not knowing that it is time-consuming, and it requires energy.
Therefore, if you make bicycle touring mistakes of wearing yourself unnecessarily, your body could be aching on the next day.
For instance, your legs stretch and strain too much to propel the bicycle forward, making it exhausted.
Just set a friendly touring target that will not wear you out excessively to the point that you will not want to touch a bicycle on the following day.
If you override without observing the distance, your muscles will be sore on the following day.
To do it right, the distance that you cover should be increased gradually from small to big until you find yourself riding for tens of miles without any negative effects.
Moreover, your body will get stronger and stronger, and also, your cycling skills will be very high and reliable.
Failing to Carry Tools
Failure to carry tools is a very common fault that people do. When your bicycle is good, you never think that it will break down.
Wherefore, beginners can deliberately ignore carrying tools with them when they are going for tours.
This is very dangerous, and you should not be deceived by the fact that the bicycle is functioning properly.
That does not mean that it will not develop faults afterward. Faults do not give a warning that they are coming unless they are gradual.
The excellent state of your bicycle should not deceive you that the bicycle cannot break down.
You should always carry your tools with you so that when a fault arises, you will solve it straight away and continue with your journey.
Ensure that your tools are always with you because you do not know what lies ahead.
Even if you do not know how to repair the bicycle, but you have tools, you can get a person on the way who knows how to repair, and they will sort you out.
Not Using Gears
This is a common issue with beginners. They are not conscious of their bicycle gears because, to them, as long as the bicycle is moving, then they are good to go.
However, this should not be the case. Bicycles have over 20 gears, and they are supposed to be sifted and used promptly when and where necessary.
Beginners do not remember to use the right gear in the right way and the right place. Instead, they use one gear throughout the journey.
For instance, they may use a high gear on a hill, and they get defeated. By so doing, they will push the bicycle uphill instead of using a low gear to make it easier for them to cycle uphill.
Ensure that you change the gears well to cycle fast where the terrain is favorable, and where it is hilly, you should use a lighter gear to make it easy for you to climb the hill without alighting.
That is why the wide range of gears has been available for you so that you can ride smoothly throughout the journey.
Some beginners are very indiscipline, and they swerve from one lane to another hence distracting other cyclists.
You should ride on a particular lane to avoid causing accidents because if you keep on changing lanes, you will not fail to collide with other riders.
However, if your balancing and stability are still wanting, you can ride behind them because you will not cross their way even if you swerve uncontrollably.
Moreover, the set of rules that you have set when cycling should be observed and obeyed to the letter by all and sundry.
For instance, if you are supposed to ride at a particular speed or gear, ensure that you stick to it so that you can move together as a team.
However, if you break those rules and norms, you will scatter all over the road.
Also, remember that pride comes before a fall. If you are a boastful and prideful cyclist, you may get a fall that will make you feel ashamed before your fellow cyclists.
Therefore, stick to the necessary cycling rules if you are cycling together as a team.
Not Carrying Water
Cycling is a strenuous activity that requires a lot of strength, and it also makes you sweat profusely.
Even if you had taken enough water before starting to cycle, you will reach a point and get really thirsty.
The bicycle manufacturers install them with a water bottle holder to enable you to keep hydrated.
Therefore, you do not have any excuse as to why you do not have water with you on your bicycle.
Cycling is not so different from running.
It goes without saying that running and even walking makes one very thirsty.
How much more is cycling? Wherefore, ensure that you have carried enough water with you because, without it, you will be so thirsty to the extent that you cannot cycle anymore.
You can even be prompted to drink dirty water.
Carry water in a bottle to avoid this challenge because you cannot withstand it.
Moreover, if you keep on drinking water everywhere, you will not fail to drink contaminated water that will cause you diseases.
Not Test Riding Your Bike
Before setting out for a cycling tour, you should check whether your bicycle is functioning properly.
All parts and parcels of the bicycle should be in perfect condition.
You should test ride the bicycle to test the brakes, the gear shifting, bell, pedals, height of the saddle, and everything else.
After finding out that they are all functioning well, you can now kick-off and go for a cycling tour.
If you just take your bicycle and set off for a tour, it will go and develop faults in the middle of the journey.
Consequently, it will hit hard on you because you may be forced to push it for some kilometres before you get help.
Apart from just testing, you should also counter check every component of the bicycle to confirm that it is in order.
You should never take your bicycle without testing it to avoid any unprecedented setbacks.
However, by test riding it, you will be sure that when you set out, you will reach your destination without any fault unless it happens unexpectedly.
Do not make the mistake of ignoring.
Using High Gears
Being overconfident is very dangerous because you will want to set off in top gear so that you can defeat everyone else or to cover the distance in the shortest time possible.
Unfortunately, since you are not used to this kind of speed and rushing, you will pant a lot. Your chest will feel like it is splitting apart, not to mention the heat that is created in there.
Please do not be hasty because hurry, hurry has no blessing.
You will kick off at a terrific speed, and then after a few kilometres, you will ride like a tortoise and be defeated by the people that you left behind.
Worse still, you may get too weary to the extent that you will park the bicycle to take a rest.
To avoid this disappointment, avoid riding in high gear because you will waste yourself away. They are also not good for hilly terrains: both up and downwards.
Instead, you should ride in the right gear that will make the journey smooth and hassle-free for you.
Not Using the 30-Day Check/Service
When you buy a bicycle, even though it is new, it could be having some hidden faults, and the manufacturer gives you a whopping 30 days to test it to know whether it is functioning correctly.
However, most beginners do not take advantage of this period.
Even if the bicycle has faults, they opt to sort it out on their own instead of taking it back to the manufacture either for repair or replacement.
After buying a bicycle, if you happen to find faults in it, you should not incur the cost of repairing it within the 30 days which are given for checking.
In case of anything, consult the manufacture’s customer care representative so that you can be directed accordingly.
The 30 days are an open offer for you because you are under the shade of the manufacturer’s wing.
Your bicycle is covered unless any other mechanical damage happens, which is not in terms of the warranty.
However, if anything else occurs, which is under the manufacturer’s 30-day service’s terms, take the bicycle for servicing.
Cycling In Wrong Clothes
Cycling is a strenuous activity that also consumes energy and creates heat in the cyclist’s body.
When you are touring a place with a bicycle, you could be carrying some luggage that adds weight to the entire bicycle.
That makes it hard for you to cycle at a fast pace. Moreover, the body also creates heat, and if you are cycling in warm clothes like jackets, you will have to remove them after a short distance.
Moreover, even if you have the right cycling gear, you should not wear underwear. Only the gear should be put on your body and nothing else.
If you make the mistake of dressing wrongly, you can sweat profusely and feel too much heat to the extent that you will not be able to cycle anymore.
If the clothes that you are wearing will also cause too much friction at your butts, you should not cycle in them because they will have a very negative effect on you.
Therefore, ensure that you are properly dressed for the ease and convenience of riding.
Straining So Much On The Hills
Beginners are overconfident, and they may strain themselves so much to ensure that they will beat every hill without alighting from the bicycle.
This consumes a lot of energy, and you will get exhausted very fast. Consequently, your cycling power will subside, and you cannot ride for long.
Make sure that you will not waste yourself with hills because they will make you wear out so fast, and after climbing uphill for about three times, you will not have any more energy to continue cycling for long.
When you see that the hill is too big for you, you should either use light gear or alight and push the bicycle uphill.
Alternatively, if you are a beginner, you can start cycling in flat terrains where you will not have to climb hills.
This will make it easy and smooth for you to ride your bicycle conveniently and enjoy to the fullest.
Carrying Too Much Luggage
As a beginner, please do not make the mistake of carrying loads and luggage because they add weight to the bicycle.
First of all, weight is a force, and it will require you to use a stronger force to propel it forwards.
Therefore, the heavier the load is directly proportional to the amount of energy that you will use to cycle the entire bicycle forward.
As a beginner, do not carry loads because they will give you a very hard time on the road.
You will spend a lot of time pushing the bicycle because it is heavy, and when you come across a small hill, you will have to alight because you are not strong enough to cycle uphill.
A heavy bicycle that is loaded with cargo is not ideal for you because of its weight.
Instead, you should cycle with a light bicycle that requires less energy to propel. Moreover, you can cycle for a longer distance and time compared to when you are riding a heavier bicycle.
Touring and commuting are not similar because the former requires ease and convenience. Wherefore, when you are carrying luggage with you, it will make it troublesome and slow.
To put it all together, these are the 15 mistakes to avoid on your first bicycle tour.
If you are not careful, you will not ride for long because one or more of the above factors will hamper you and prevent you from hitting your riding target.
To make the journey smooth and very convenient for you, you should avoid everything that has been highlighted above.
Right from the saddle height, the bicycle components, and everything else, ensure that none of them will inconvenience you.
The bicycle should be flawless and not carry any extra weight on it. Consequently, it will be very easy and efficient for you to ride smoothly without straining and wasting yourself out.
None of the above mistakes should be ignored or overlooked because their repercussions will impact on you harshly.